Orbcomm (satellite)

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Orbcomm
Operator Orbcomm
Mission type Communication
Orbital elements
Regime LEO

Orbcomm satellites are low Earth orbit communications satellites, operated by the United States satellite communications company Orbcomm. As of July 2014, 51 such satellites have orbited Earth, with 50 still continuing to do so.[not verified in body]

Satellite types[edit]

Orbcomm-CDS[edit]

Orbcomm-CDS
Major contractors OSC (X, CDS-1/2)
OHB-System (CDS-3)
Mission type Technology Demonstration
Carrier rocket Ariane 4 (X)
Pegasus (CDS-1/2)
Kosmos-3M (CDS-3)
Mass 22 kg (49 lb) (X)
14 kg (31 lb) (CDS-1/2)
80 kg (180 lb) (CDS-3)

Orbcomm-CDS (Concept or Capability Demonstration Satellites) are spacecraft which were launched to test equipment and communication techniques used by the other satellites. The first three CDS satellites, Orbcomm-X, CDS-1 and CDS-2, were launched before any operational satellites, in order to validate the systems to be used in the operational constellation.

Orbcomm-X, also known as Datacomm-X, was launched in 1991. It carried communications and GPS experiments. Initially, the spacecraft was reported healthy, but communication was lost after just one orbit.[1]

CDS-3 was launched in 2008, along with the 5 Quick Launch satellites. It contained experiments for relaying signals from the United States Coast Guard Automatic Identification System through the satellite constellation.[2] It was designated Orbcomm FM-29,[2] having most of the communications payload from an unlaunched satellite. The avionics bus to that satellites later became TacSat-1.


Orbcomm-OG1[edit]

Orbcomm-1
Major contractors OSC
Bus MicroStar
Carrier rocket Pegasus-H
Taurus
Pegasus-XL/HAPS
Mission duration 4 years
Mass 40-45 kilograms
Orbital elements
Inclination 45° (mostly)
Apoapsis 720 kilometers (450 mi) (mostly)
Periapsis 720 kilometers (450 mi) (mostly)

Orbcomm-1 satellites make up most of the current Orbcomm constellation. 36 were built, of which 35 were launched, and one more, Orbcomm FM-29, was rebuilt as TacSat-1 for the United States military.[3]


Orbcomm-QL[edit]

Orbcomm-QL
Major contractors OHB-System
PO Polyot
Orbital Sciences
Bus Sterkh
Carrier rocket Kosmos-3M
Mass 80 kilograms (180 lb)
Orbital elements
Inclination 48.45°
Apoapsis 661 kilometers (411 mi)

Orbcomm Quick Launch (QL) satellites are satellites which were intended to replenish the constellation. The first five such satellites were launched in 2008, with one more planned, but never launched. The satellites are based on the CDS-3 satellite, which was launched on the same rocket as the first five QL spacecraft. The sixth will be launched as a secondary payload to a Russian Government satellite, also on a Kosmos-3M. Orbcomm holds options for two further satellites.[4] The satellites experienced a power system anomaly, and Orbcomm filed an insurance claim on the satellites for $50 million.[5] Orbcomm reported in 2011 that the last remaining Quick Launch satellite had failed.[6]


Orbcomm-OG2[edit]

Orbcomm-2
Major contractors SNC
Argon ST
SpaceX (LSP)
Bus SN-100A[7]
Carrier rocket Falcon 9 v1.1
Mission duration >5 years[7]
Mass 172 kilograms (379 lb)[7]
Power 400 W[7]

Orbcomm Generation 2 (OG2) satellites are intended to supplement and eventually replace the current first generation constellation. Eighteen satellites have been ordered, and are planned to be launched in three groups of six between 2010 and 2014. Orbcomm has options for a further thirty OG2 spacecraft.[8] The satellites will be launched by SpaceX on the Falcon 9 launch system. Originally, they were to launch on the smaller Falcon 1e rocket.[9]

The first of these satellites was launched on 7 October 2012 as secondary payload on a SpaceX Falcon 9 v1.0 flight. The primary payload was for NASA to the ISS.[10][11] On this launch the Falcon 9 had a failure in one of its nine first stage engines 79 seconds after liftoff from Cape Canaveral, Florida. This prevented the OG2 prototype satellite from being deployed into the proper orbit.[12] The satellite functioned as planned during the short time it was in orbit. This allowed a subset of spacecraft systems to be flight-test validated. The orbit of the spacecraft was unable to be raised to a sustainable altitude due to contractual limitations put on SpaceX by the primary payload owner, NASA. Two days after its launch the OG2 prototype re-entered and burned up in Earth's atmosphere. Orbcomm is claiming the mission a total loss.[13][14]

The second launch, with a constellation of six OG2 satellites, launched on July 14, 2014.[7][15] The satellites were launched on a SpaceX Falcon 9 v1.1 launch vehicle. Following the end of the use of the first stage for the Orbcomm orbital mission, SpaceX used the booster stage—which would ordinarily be destroyed on reentering the Earth's atmosphere and impact with the ocean—for a flight test of a number of reusable launch vehicle technologies to safely reenter and execute a "soft vertical landing" on the ocean surface, where it successfully decelerated, made a successful reentry, landing burn and deployment of its landing legs. The first stage was not recovered as the hull integrity was breached on landing or on the subsequent "tip over and body slam".[16]

The ORBCOMM OG2 satellites are being manufactured by an industry team led by Sierra Nevada Corp and Argon ST, a Boeing subsidiary. A total of 18 ORBCOMM next-generation OG2 satellites were in production as of February 2013. ORBCOMM OG2 satellites will provide enhanced ORBCOMM messaging capabilities, increased capacity, and automatic identification systems (AIS) service. ORBCOMM has reached an agreement with SpaceX to launch 18 satellites on its Falcon 9 rockets, for a cost of $42.6 million, by July 2014.[17]

Launches[edit]

Launch Date/Time (GMT) Carrier Rocket Launch Site Satellite Alternative
Designation
Remarks
01:46, 17 July 1991 Ariane 4 (40) ELA-2, CSG Orbcomm-X Datacomm-X Early loss of communication
14:30, 9 February 1993[18] Pegasus NB-52B, KSC SLF Orbcomm CDS-1 OXP No longer operational
13:56, 25 April 1993 Pegasus NB-52B, Edwards AFB Orbcomm CDS-2 VSUME No longer operational
13:48, 3 April 1995[18] Pegasus-H L-1011, Vandenberg AFB Orbcomm-F1 FM1 No longer operational
Orbcomm-F2 FM2 No longer operational
19:11, 23 December 1997[18] Pegasus-XL/HAPS L-1011, Wallops Island Orbcomm-A1 FM5
Orbcomm-A2 FM6
Orbcomm-A3 FM7
Orbcomm-A4 FM8
Orbcomm-A5 FM9
Orbcomm-A6 FM10
Orbcomm-A7 FM11
Orbcomm-A8 FM12
13:20, 10 February 1998 Taurus LC-576E, Vandenberg AFB Orbcomm-G1 FM3 No longer operational
Orbcomm-G2 FM4
16:24, 2 August 1998[18] Pegasus-XL/HAPS L-1011, Wallops Island Orbcomm-B1 FM13
Orbcomm-B2 FM14
Orbcomm-B3 FM15
Orbcomm-B4 FM16
Orbcomm-B5 FM17 No longer operational
Orbcomm-B6 FM18
Orbcomm-B7 FM19
Orbcomm-B8 FM20
05:06, 23 September 1998[18] Pegasus-XL/HAPS L-1011, Wallops Island Orbcomm-C1 FM21
Orbcomm-C2 FM22 No longer operational
Orbcomm-C3 FM23
Orbcomm-C4 FM24 No longer operational
Orbcomm-C5 FM25 No longer operational
Orbcomm-C6 FM26 No longer operational
Orbcomm-C7 FM27
Orbcomm-C8 FM28 No longer operational
18:53, 4 December 1999[18] Pegasus-XL/HAPS L-1011, Wallops Island Orbcomm-D2 FM30
Orbcomm-D3 FM31
Orbcomm-D4 FM32 Semi-operational
Orbcomm-D5 FM33 No longer operational
Orbcomm-D6 FM34
Orbcomm-D7 FM35
Orbcomm-D8 FM36
06:36, 19 June 2008[19] Kosmos-3M Site 107, Kapustin Yar Orbcomm CDS-3 FM29 No longer operational
Orbcomm-QL1 FM37 No longer operational
Orbcomm-QL2 FM38 No longer operational
Orbcomm-QL3 FM39 No longer operational
Orbcomm-QL4 FM40 No longer operational
Orbcomm-QL5 FM41 No longer operational
05:31, 12 October 2011 PSLV-CA FLP, Satish Dhawan VesselSat-1 FM42
03:17, 9 January 2012 Long March 4B LC-9, Taiyuan VesselSat-2 FM43
00:35, 8 October 2012 Falcon 9 v1.0 (Flight 4) SLC-40, Cape Canaveral Orbcomm OG2-1 FM101 Demo unit launch as a secondary payload, at low cost and with attendant lower launch services. The primary payload owner did not allow the second orbit raising burn, and thus OG2-1 was placed in a much lower orbit. Various tests of the new satellite design were completed, but OG2-1 never became fully operational. The sat reentered in only four days.[13][20]
15:15, 14 July 2014 Falcon 9 v1.1 (Flight 10) SLC-40, Cape Canaveral Orbcomm OG2-3 FM103
Orbcomm OG2-4 FM104
Orbcomm OG2-6 FM106
Orbcomm OG2-7 FM107
Orbcomm OG2-9 FM109
Orbcomm OG2-11 FM111

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Orbcomm-X". NASA. Retrieved 2013-02-01. 
  2. ^ a b Krebs, Gunter. "Orbcomm-CDS 3 (Orbcomm J1, Orbcomm FM29)". Gunter's Space Page. Retrieved 2008-10-19. 
  3. ^ Krebs, Gunter. "Orbcomm 1 - 43". Gunter's Space Page. Retrieved 2008-10-19. 
  4. ^ Krebs, Gunter. "Orbcomm 37 - 41". Gunter's Space Page. Retrieved 2008-10-19. 
  5. ^ Jai C.S., ORBCOMM Reaches Settlement on Satellite Insurance Claim December 28, 2009
  6. ^ "ORBCOMM Inc. - FORM 8-K - January 31, 2011". Retrieved 2013-01-16. 
  7. ^ a b c d e Graham, William (2014-07-14). "SpaceX’s Falcon 9 set for fourth attempt to launch Orbcomm OG2 mission". NASAspaceflight.com. Retrieved 2014-07-14. 
  8. ^ Krebs, Gunter. "Orbcomm (2nd gen.)". Gunter's Space Page. Retrieved 2008-10-19. 
  9. ^ "SpaceX Wins Orbcomm Contract to Launch 18 Satellite Constellation". Satellite Today. 2009-09-03. Retrieved 2009-09-03. 
  10. ^ "Orbcomm Eagerly Awaits Launch of New Satellite on Next Falcon 9" (Press release). Space News. 25 May 2012. Retrieved 28 May 2012. 
  11. ^ Hartman, Dan (23 July 2012). "International Space Station Program Status". NASA. Retrieved 28 August 2012. 
  12. ^ Clark, Stephen (8 October 2012). "Orbcomm satellite in wrong orbit after Falcon 9 launch". Spaceflightnow. Retrieved 8 October 2012. 
  13. ^ a b de Selding, Peter B. (2012-10-11). "Orbcomm Craft Launched by Falcon 9 Falls out of Orbit". Space News. Retrieved 2012-10-12. Orbcomm requested that SpaceX carry one of their small satellites (weighing a few hundred pounds, vs. Dragon at over 12,000 pounds)... The higher the orbit, the more test data [Orbcomm] can gather, so they requested that we attempt to restart and raise altitude. NASA agreed to allow that, but only on condition that there be substantial propellant reserves, since the orbit would be close to the space station. It is important to appreciate that Orbcomm understood from the beginning that the orbit-raising maneuver was tentative. They accepted that there was a high risk of their satellite remaining at the Dragon insertion orbit. SpaceX would not have agreed to fly their satellite otherwise, since this was not part of the core mission and there was a known, material risk of no altitude raise. 
  14. ^ http://www.spaceflightnow.com/falcon9/004/121011orbcomm/
  15. ^ "OG2 Launch". 16 June 2014. Retrieved 16 June 2014. 
  16. ^ https://twitter.com/elonmusk "Rocket booster reentry, landing burn & leg deploy were good, but lost hull integrity right after splashdown (aka kaboom) ... Detailed review of rocket telemetry needed to tell if due to initial splashdown or subsequent tip over and body slam." Elon Musk, SpaceX CEO.
  17. ^ Messier, Doug (December 27, 2012). "Orbcomm, SpaceX Reach New Launch Agreement on OG2 Satellite Launch". parabolicArc. Retrieved 1 February 2013. 
  18. ^ a b c d e f Wade, Mark. "Pegasus". Encyclopedia Astronautica. Retrieved 2008-10-19. 
  19. ^ "ORBCOMM satellites launched". Space Today. 2008-06-19. Retrieved 2008-10-19. 
  20. ^ Orbcomm craft falls to Earth, company claims total loss